Burn Collection

I'm from West Virginia, where burning couches is a part of everyday life.

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Sep 2 2011, 12:00am

I'm from West Virginia, where burning couches is a part of everyday life. Just yesterday a law was passed to prevent this very ritual. Peoples in Morgantown who normally keep to themselves will gather round ye burning couch and breathe in the fumes to dance and be merry with strangers. The moldy, moist couch on the porch is basically just marinating till the day of celebration. It’s like the purification slaughter of the village cow. Except we devour the great beast with our noses. And when we run out of couches, there will always be unloved Papasan chairs to feed the flames.

What else are we gonna do for a hallucinogenic ritual in West Virginia? We don't have no peyote or nothin’. Once you start burning one thing, then almost everything begins to gather a mystique for a good burn too. When you catch the fire bug, not only will you consider the beauty of watching everything melt, you will reflect on how much you revel in its slow, noxious death.

This is one of the only patriotic, American, freedom-loving acts we have left. Wal-Mart and Target are filling our universe with so much cheap, worthless junk, it’s become imperative that we burn it all to make room. I don't want to have to sleep in all these Little Tikes Bounce Houses with a bunch of slutty Bratz dolls strewn about for warmth.

Burning is a symbiotic blend of cleansing as well as being a cancerous pollutant middle finger at corporate America. If corporate ain't too worried about burning away the Gulf of Mexico, then we the peoples must counterattack by burning the entirety of Little Tikes’ purchased inventory kept outdoors. Every hoarder in America has a dilapidated, gross, plastic playhouse defying decades of decay in the backyard.

I, for one, decided to take a stand and burn a few items around the house, based on three desires:

1. I want to see what it will look like melting.
2. I want to see if I can make the toxins more palatable with chemically-based foodstuffs.
3. I just want to burn something, burn anything, because they say I can't.

Burn Assemblage #1
Pillsbury Doughboy and Coogi sweater.

This was the most difficult burn, in terms of having to let go of emotional tethers. I do love Pillsbury Doughboy and used to collect his image in earnest for many years. I rescued this Styrofoam Doughboy about 15 years ago and have moved him from apartment to apartment for way too long. His death became imminent when mice pooped inside his head. The Coogi sweater, which I have reported about in a previous post, was washed and thus shrank to a tiny version of itself and lost all its Cooginess because the threads globbed together and got all felty. Who looks good in felt? Do not wash your Coogi!

It was sad to see them die, but when they were on fire, they smelled like mouth bacteria.

Burn Assemblage #2
Cabbage Patch dressed as an X-mas elf, Maxi Pads with Eazy Cheese (to glue on Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni).

I didn't have any emotional relationship with this assemblage. I think this was a fake Cabbage Patch anyway, because it did not have the butt (if you know, then you know); Maxi Pads are hateable because as soon as you get your period you will be ridiculed till you graduate to tampons; and Hamburger Helper Cheesy Nacho comes with a packet of cheese powder that tastes like Monistat 7 pudding. So, just for that, I will burn this Hamburger Helper in effigy of bad panties taste.

This assemblage, aflame, smelled a bit cheesier than it would otherwise, but its fortitude was weak because it totally went face down two seconds after it was lit.

Burn Assemblage #3
Kitten Print Nurse outfit belonging to a "Regina" with pockets filled with Smart Value shake cheese and Gorilla Munch.

This was a bittersweet burn, only because of my deep love for Gorilla Munch. There is no better work of art in the cereal isle than the expression of this gorilla.

Somehow the artist captured a quiet moment of idealism and grace on his face. He seems to not want for anything, especially cereal. He looks complete and calm, and I don't know why he is just sitting there with the Munch. He seems interested in something in the distance, or maybe in the miasma of his personal contemplations--he is unemotional but very present.

This nurse uniform went up in flames faster than anything I have ever burned. I would be wary of wearing this outfit to work. It was lit up and gone in about five seconds. It also smelled like bleach, and the Parmesan cheese and Gorilla Munch did not affect the aroma at all. I know that wearing scrubs is probably boring, but all these prints they have these days make people look like toddler clowns. The classic blue scrub is much classier and stately, deserving of respect. Also, this kitten print is intimidating because the kittens are all stoic and staring.

Burn Assemblage #4
SPAM, Homies, tampons, Eazy Cheese.

This was the dumbest assemblage. After the first three burns, chemical inhalation probably lead to this creation. I am feeling bereft—now I don't have any tampons, and I miss those Homies.

However, this was by far the most beautiful assemblage after it had a chance to burn for a while; the tampons began to wither and sway like Dicentra flowers as they slowly died. It was the only assemblage that looked better after it was on fire.

Burn Assemblage #5
WHAM record and KLF record, each stuffed with marshmallows.

The incentive was basically to make marshmallow goo pockets. They bubbled and burst a bit through George Michael's face, and that was a tiny thrill, but basically a dud.

At this point, I was craving for something to explode.

Burn Assemblage #6
Care Bear bubble bath, Pop Rocks, cocktail wieners, Peeps with human hair wigs.

I was excited for this because I hypothesized that the chemicals in the nasty bubble bath and Pop Rocks would detonate, sending the wieners and marshmallow Peeps with wigs soaring upwards into the sky.

The Peeps did somehow fly off and the wieners tumbled, but nothing exploded. Burn activity was marginal. It didn't really take to the flame. The aroma was least noxious of all, more like a stewardess standing in a new clean deli.

For dessert I craved violence. So, I tossed some Strawberry Crush, Grape-Acai Crunk, and the Eazy Cheese canister into the flames and ran! The Eazy Cheese totally exploded and incinerated itself with no trace. It was super loud and satisfying. The Crunk and the Crush each made a tiny pop sound and died.

How do I feel after the ritual burn? To be honest, headachey, with underlying constant nausea. My lungs feel wrapped in brown Saran Wrap with mucous nodules, my skin looks blue-ish, and I don’t feel very smart. So take that Corporate America, I'd rather kill myself than let you people handle it. Mountaineers will always be free!

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